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Surge in Religious Extremism: Balochistan civilians likely to be targeted by Pakistani Forces, says Activist

Pakistani security personnel was practically laying siege to the house of a political worker in the Turbat area for four days

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People of Balochistan. Image source: Flickr
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New Delhi, September 10, 2016: Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province by area which has experienced insurgency by Baloch separatists, targeted killings, and disappearance of Baloch people by security forces for more than a decade now, along with the sectarian violence against minority Hazara Shia Muslims by fundamentalists.

The ongoing government action against the insurgency and terrorist organizations has resulted in a surge in religious extremism in the region. Hindus, Shias (including Hazaras) and Zikris have been targeted, causing massive migration from Balochistan, mentioned ANI report.

Pakistani forces have launched a fresh wave of military operations across the restive Balochistan province. An activist for a prominent Baloch political outfit has said even civilians have been attacked and abducted in the ongoing operations and has called on the international community to take steps to stop Islamabad’s human rights abuses in Balochistan, quoted the ANI report.

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“In many parts of the Nasirabad district (of the Balochistan province), Pak forces have carried out attacks. Baloch civilians have been harassed and many have been abducted,” said Abdul Nawaz Bugti, Baloch Republican Party’s representative at the United Nations human rights council.

“In different parts of Dera Bugti, Baloch civil populace have been attacked and more than 19 Baloch civilians, including women and children, all belonging to the same family have been abducted,” Bugti told news agency ANI in a video message.

Bugti added that Pakistani security personnel was practically laying siege to the house of a political worker in the Turbat area for four days. “His family, mostly women, and children, is starving and Pakistani forces have denied access to them,” Bugti said to ANI.

ALSO WATCH: Tarek Fatah shares his thoughts on the state-sponsored killings in Pakistan

He had earlier tweeted that Pakistani forces use such tactics to compel Baloch political activists who have gone underground to resurface. They are then abducted, tortured or killed, he alleged.

“It is the time that international media raises their voices and helps save Baloch from the inhuman atrocities committed by Pakistani forces on a daily basis in Balochistan,” he added.

Abdul Nawaz Bugti’s twitter timeline is filled with tweets that are updates of the actions of Pakistani security personnel in Balochistan.

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When questioned by some on whether PM Modi’s mention of Balochistan has had a negative effect on Baloch people, Bugti tweeted, “It hasn’t. Pakistani atrocities have always been there. The positive thing now is that the world knows about them,” Bugti further added.

Modi’s statements have flashed Balochistan as a key regional subject and everyone is talking and researching about it. The Baloch goal was to be recognized as a separate entity instead of being looked at as a disillusioned segment of Pakistan’s domestic politics.

The army and the civilian government both seem to be on the same page. The former government of the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League have shown little interest in pursuing talks with the Baloch leadership.

– prepared by Arya Sharan of NewsGram

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump’s Tough stand on Pak

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) issued a statement Monday welcoming Donald Trump's stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

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Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons
Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons

Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.

Khwaja Wali Kirani in Balochistan. Wikimedia Commons

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.

The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.

No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.

The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.

“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.

The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.

A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.

The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.

Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.